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Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 29, 2016

Harold Maass
President Obama speaks at an event for troops
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
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1.

Congress overrides Obama veto of 9/11 victim bill

The House and the Senate voted on Wednesday to override President Obama's veto of a bill to let the families of 9/11 victims sue the government of Saudi Arabia for any role it may have played in the terrorist plot. The lopsided votes — in the Senate, only Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sided with Obama — marked the first veto override of Obama's presidency. Obama called the override a "mistake." Before the votes, he wrote to Congress warning that the law "could be devastating to the Department of Defense and its service members" and create major problems for the U.S. in foreign affairs and intelligence gathering. [The New York Times]

2.

House and Senate pass spending bill to avoid shutdown

The Senate on Wednesday passed a stopgap spending bill to avert a partial government shutdown and keep government agencies fully funded through Dec. 9. The 72-26 vote came after Democrats received assurances that Flint, Michigan, would get aid to address its drinking water crisis after the November election. A day earlier, Democrats had blocked the bill because Flint aid was left out. The legislation also provides $1.1 billion in long-awaited money to fight the mosquito-borne Zika virus. The House also approved the measure, sending it to President Obama for his signature before funding runs out Friday. [The Associated Press, The Hill]

3.

Clinton gets slight bounce in post-debate poll

Hillary Clinton got a small bounce from the first presidential debate, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday. Clinton, the Democratic nominee, led her Republican rival, Donald Trump, 41 percent to 38 percent in the poll, up from a 1 percentage point lead just before Monday night's debate. Both leads were within the poll's margin of error. Four scientific polls conducted since the debate found that Americans overwhelmingly believed that Clinton won the debate. In the Politico/Morning Consult poll, 49 percent of respondents said Clinton won, while 26 percent gave the night to Trump. [Morning Consult]

4.

Kerry threatens to end cooperation with Russia over Syria airstrikes

Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. might suspend cooperation with Russia on resolving Syria's civil war unless Russia and Syria halt intensifying airstrikes. Kerry, in a phone call with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, "expressed grave concern" over the "drastic escalation" of bombings in the divided city of Aleppo since a ceasefire collapsed last week. Kerry "stressed that the burden remains on Russia to stop this assault and allow humanitarian access to Aleppo and other areas in need," State Department spokesman John Kirby said. U.S. officials also reportedly have renewed a debate over whether to give moderate rebels more weapons. [Los Angeles Times]

5.

India hits 'terrorists' with cross-border Kashmir strikes

India announced on Thursday that it conducted "surgical strikes" in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir against "terrorists" it said were planning attacks on Indian territory. Pakistan's ‎military called India's announcement a "fabrication," saying that India had only initiated some ordinary but unprovoked "cross-border fire." Pakistan said two of its soldiers had been killed. "If India tries to do this again, we will respond forcefully," Pakistan's defense minister, Khawaja Asif, said. "India is doing this only to please their media and public." [The New York Times]

6.

OPEC agrees to oil production cuts

Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed on Wednesday to modest output cuts, sending oil prices rising by more than 5 percent to higher than $48 per barrel. Oil prices edged down early Thursday as some investors took profits. Global stocks gained, led by energy company shares, although U.S. stock futures struggled as euphoria over the deal faded. The agreement came as Saudi Arabia and other OPEC leaders faced mounting pressure to do something to ease a glut that has dragged down prices dramatically. Iran, which had opposed a freeze until it regains the output it had before now-lifted sanctions were imposed, will be allowed to produce "at maximum levels that make sense," as will Libya and Nigeria.
[Reuters, MarketWatch]

7.

U.S. adding 600 troops to help Iraq with Mosul offensive

The U.S. plans to send roughly 600 more troops to Iraq to help local forces retake Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, from the Islamic State, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Wednesday. The reinforcements will join the 4,565 military personnel already in Iraq. They will assist with training and advising the Iraqi military. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he had requested the additional troops to "provide support for security forces" as they try to drive ISIS from the city, its "last major urban stronghold." [The Associated Press, ABC News]

8.

Two pupils, one teacher wounded in South Carolina school shooting

Two students and a teacher were injured in a shooting at Townville Elementary School near Greenville, South Carolina, on Wednesday. A teenage suspect was arrested. Authorities said the two students had been shot on a playground and were being treated at a Greenville hospital for injuries that were not life threatening. Teachers, all of whom had taken active-shooter training, locked the school's doors, preventing the attacker from getting inside. A volunteer firefighter subdued the 14-year-old suspect. Later, the suspect's father, Jeffrey Osborne, was found dead at his home about two miles away. Osborne, 47, was fatally shot before the school attack. [NBC News, The Greenville News]

9.

California protesters march against fatal officer-involved shooting

Hundreds of protesters gathered in the streets of El Cajon, California, on Wednesday for a second night of protests against the fatal police shooting of an unarmed, mentally ill black man, Alfred Olango. The 38-year-old Olango had pulled something from his pocket and pointed it at an officer. Police said Wednesday night that the object was a vape smoking device. The protesters were peaceful but loud as they marched, with many shouting, "No justice, no peace." [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

10.

Amnesty International accuses Sudan of Darfur chemical weapon attacks

The Sudanese government has killed more than 200 people with chemical weapons in Darfur since January, according to a new report from Amnesty International. Dozens of the victims were children. Sudan's United Nations ambassador, Omer Dahab Fadl Mohamed, said the allegations were "baseless and fabricated." "The ultimate objective of such wild accusation, is to steer confusion in the ongoing processes aimed at deepening peace and stability and enhancing economic development and social cohesion in Sudan," he said. Sudanese forces and rebels have been fighting in the region for 13 years. [BBC News]